This blog is devoted to my John Welsford designed 15' Navigator yawl Ellie. I built her in my garage over a period of 18 months and launched her in 2011. She sports a sliding gunter main, roller furled jib and sprit-boomed mizzen. Her construction is glued-lapstrake over permanent bulkheads and stringers. This blog is a record of her construction and her voyages here in the Puget Sound area and (hopefully) a useful resource for fellow Navigator builders.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hull Paint




The best way to finish a boat is to apply as many coats of paint as you can afford.  So far I have applied close to a half gallon of paint to the hull (5 coats).  I'm going to keep applying paint until I run out. That should be about 12 coats at this rate. That should suffice.



Religion, politics, and boat paint are the top three most controversial subjects in the known universe.  I spent months reading what everyone had to say on the subject. There are a dizzying array of paints available, all with their own sets of pro's and con's.  Every type of paint has its proponents and critics. In the end, I decided to go with Porch and Floor enamel. Porch and Floor enamel is the one paint that most people seem to agree, (more or less),  is a perfectly fine paint to use on a boat.

On my last build I used Interlux Brightside.  Brightside is terrific paint.  I was very pleased with the results. It goes on smooth, levels very nicely, covers well, dries hard, but it's somewhat expensive.
I read numerous times that Porch and Floor enamel is essentially the same thing as Brightside at a fraction of the cost.  John Welsford also recommends alkyd (oil-based) enamel paints.  So I decided to give it a go. Remember, the best way to finish a boat is to apply as many coats of paint as you can afford.

Interlux Brightside paint is a polyurethane alkyd enamel that costs about $110/gal at the local West Marine.
Ace Porch & Floor paint is a polyurethane alkyd enamel that costs $27/gal at the local Ace Hardware.

After using both, I honestly can't tell the difference.


18 comments:

  1. joel - boats looking real good - yep paint is a controversial subject and yep you are right about the number of coats - from experiences with arwen - the more coats the better. i did aluminimum yacht primer x 4 coats; international undercoat x 3 coats and then international toplac x 4 coats and its been worth it - because where i've done a ding or a scrap - its NEVER gone lower thena the aluminimum coats

    good looking boat congratulations joel
    steve

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  2. ON FIBERGLASS TOO?

    Just curious, can I use that porch and floor paint on a fiberglass hull, or will that only work over wood?
    Thanks.

    Lauren

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  3. Yes, you can use it over fiberglass, but make sure you thoroughly sand the fiberglass with 100-120 grit until it's frosty looking. Paint will not stick very well to unsanded epoxy or fiberglass or anything else with a glossy or waxy surface. Rustolium paint also works very well. I used Rustolium almond color for the cockpit coamings and decking on Ellie. I'm very pleased with it. Rustolium dries faster than the Royal and the skuff resistance seems just as good as the porch paint. Don't worry, Rustolium is not just for metal. Rustolium is just another alkyd oil-based enamel. These paints will give you a satin finish. If you want a glossy finish go with a yacht paint. If you want a mirror-like finish, go with a 2-part poly.

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  4. Joel, your site is, yet again, a tremendous help. Thanks for posting about your paint choice.

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  5. Thanks Joel. You just boiled down a number of hours of research I have done on paints. Shoulda just come here first!

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  6. Hi Joel,

    Why would you use this if it's not waterproof?

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  7. Thanks Joel! Can I apply this to an already painted hull without sanding it? The paint used on the boat I bought was a linseed oil paint. What do you think of le tokinois? This is my first boat and any tips would be great! Thank you!

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  8. You can apply alkyd enamel over linseed oil if the oil finish is completely cured. If not you will have adhesion problems. I would highly recommend sanding first to remove any contamination.

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  9. Hi Joel thanks for the tips. Could I paint over varnish or must I bring it down to the plywood? Which type of varnish do you use?

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    1. No problem painting alkyd enamels over varnish. Sand off any cracked or peeling varnish and lightly sand everything until it's "frosty". Only use genuine spar varnish made for boats on a boat, never polyurethane.

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  10. Thanks! And the best way to apply I've been reading is with a roller and then brush would you say?

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    1. Roll and tip. Roll on the paint with a foam roller, then very very lightly go over it with a foam brush.

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  11. Could you recommend a varnish? Cetol? Thank you for the tips!

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  12. I use Man O' War marine spar varnish.

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  13. Hi Joel,

    Your tips helped a lot! You said the best protection is to apply as many coats as possible but wouldn't it better protection just to epoxy fiberglass the bottom? Or do you do that also. Thanks!

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  14. I have had great success (at great expense) with Interlux Brightside over a primed fiberglass / epoxy hull. Some reviews of Ace Royal Porch and floor paint are glowing. Others complain of ridiculous long drying times, so long as to make the stuff useless. I had this problem once with Cabot marine varnish over Epoxy. Any experience with this issue? Any advice about how to avoid it? A couple days between coats would be OK but not more than that. Do you recommend a primer first, or just good sanding technique?

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    Replies
    1. Ace Royal Porch paint takes a long time to dry if you lay down a thick coat. I found that out the hard way. A thin coat will dry in 24 hours. Lay down a thick coat and you're in for a 1-week wait for it to dry.

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